Corn, also known as maize, is one of the main staples of any diet—vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore. This ubiquitous cereal also comes with more than a few nutritional benefits.
It is rich in potassium, iron, and contains 3,27g of protein per 100g. On top of that, corn is an excellent source of energy because 100g of kernels have about 86 calories. These characteristics make it an excellent choice for a vegan or vegetarian diet.
There are many different ways to consume corn. It can be cooked, grilled, or ground into tasty tortilla flour. However, if you’re wondering if you can eat raw corn, here are some things you should know.
Can You Eat Raw Corn? The Simple Answer
If you grew up in the city, eating raw corn might not have been something you enjoyed as a kid. Yet those who grew up on a farm, especially in the Midwest, know well how tasty corn straight from the cob can be. However, you don’t just go out and munch down on any corn that you can find.
There are two varieties of corn and one is perfectly suitable for eating raw while the other isn’t. Sweet corn is the variety you can actually eat raw and a lot of people enjoy it every spring. This type of corn is tender, almost milky, and surprisingly sweet. But there are some things you should do before you actually bite into a juicy sweet corn.
First, you need to make sure to get the youngest possible corn. If you don’t live in the countryside, picking one straight from the stalk is not possible, so you should pay a visit to the farmer’s market. It is best to get sweet corn during the peak season which usually starts in the spring and might last until early summer.
When you squeeze the cob, a good young corn should be somewhat soft, but not too soft. It should also have a distinct fresh smell. You need to wash the corn thoroughly before consumption because you are never 100% sure if it’s been sprayed or not.
As previously mentioned, there is another corn variety that is not suitable for eating raw.
Dent corn, also known as yellow or field corn, shouldn’t be eaten raw. This variety is actually one of the most common and versatile ones. Nevertheless, it is not the corn you would enjoy raw. Dent corn contains a lot of starch so the taste isn’t pleasant and you might have trouble digesting it. However, if you cook dent corn, it will release more nutrients and become suitable for consumption.
Tips on How to Eat Raw Corn
Now that you know the answer to the question, "Can you eat raw corn?" let's consider some different ways to consume this delicious cereal.
There are many vegan and vegetarian dishes that include raw corn, and the ways you can incorporate raw corn in your diet are almost limitless.
Corn on the Cob
The simplest and most basic way to eat raw corn is straight from the cob. What’s more, as mentioned in the previous section, it might even bring back some childhood memories. Once you’ve selected the freshest possible corn, you need to remove shucks and silk, and rinse it well. Make sure that the corn doesn’t sit around for long because it might start tasting grassy due to starch break down.
When the corn is nice and clean, just bite into it and enjoy the succulent flavor. You can add some seasonings like olive oil and salt to enhance the flavor, though, in a way, they defy the point of eating raw corn because they can take away some of the natural sweetness.
Raw Corn Soup
A chilled vegetable soup might be one of the best dishes that include raw corn. Vegans and vegetarians are quite familiar with gazpacho, the cold Spanish soup that goes really well with raw corn. However, gazpacho is only one of the recipes to which you can add raw corn to get a refreshing cold soup.
Feel free to experiment and blend together different seasonal herbs and vegetables with raw corn until you get the perfect recipe. When it comes to soups, some seasoning is desirable to round off all the different tastes. For example, basil and similar herbs perfectly complement raw corn, and raw corn also goes really well with carrots.
Raw Corn Salad
Another great way to consume raw corn is in a salad. You can mix raw corn with any imaginable fresh vegetable—or even fruit—to get a vitamin-packed vegan salad. A simple raw corn salad consists of only a few ingredients and is quite easy to prepare.
You should dice some red bell peppers, a carrot, and a sweet onion. Add raw corn kernels into the mix and top it off with chopped parsley and cilantro. You can also add a teaspoon or two of olive oil vinaigrette and white balsamic to enhance the flavors. This salad provides you with a splash of colors, textures, and nutrients perfectly suited for any vegan diet.
Raw Corn with Vegan Ice Cream
Some vegans and vegetarians might be wondering if they can eat raw corn in ice cream. Admittedly, this question doesn’t pop up often since most people don’t usually associate raw corn with ice cream. However, fresh young corn is one of the best additions to this cold summer treat.
Remember, sweet corn has a milky, tender flavor that perfectly complements the invigorating taste of vegan ice cream. You can just sprinkle the raw corn over the ice cream or put it in the vegan ice cream mix, if you are making some at home.
Bonus Healthy Little Tricks
There are a few neat tricks to enhance the nutritional properties of raw corn.
When you combine raw corn with bell pepper in a salad, for example, it will increase the amount of vitamin C. Combining raw corn with cooked beans, on the other hand, gives you a complete protein.
The Final Kernel
If you’re still wondering if you can eat corn raw, the answer is yes, you can—and you probably should. Eating raw corn is healthy, tasty, and completely risk-free. Just make sure to source the freshest possible corn and clean it thoroughly before you put it in your vegan dish or munch it straight from the cob.